White House downplays Obama’s golf round with lobbyist

President Obama's weekend round of golf with a veteran lobbyist didn’t weaken his pledge to narrow the influence of K Street, the White House insisted on Monday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed a question on whether the president's round with Joe O'Neill, the president and CEO of Public Strategies Washington, violated his promise to limit lobbyist access to the White House.


"I think he played a game of golf," Carney said.

O'Neill is a top lobbyist whose clients include Lockheed Martin, Southwest Airlines, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Anheuser-Busch. He's also worked on behalf of Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that became a flashpoint for Democratic attacks during the 2012 campaign.

The pair were joined on the links by former U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk and Milton Carroll, the chairman of natural gas company CenterPoint Energy.